"Food is life. Life is food. If you don't like my approach, you are welcome to go down to McDonald's" (Keith Floyd)

"If you tried to give rock'n roll another name...you might call it Chuck Berry" (John Lennon)

"All books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened" (Ernest Hemingway)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chicken Rice a'la Shorestone...

Hi again !

I had last night again a quite 'nervous' cooking. I decided to cook Chicken Rice...the world's most eaten dish...and people here in Asia are very particular about the taste of it. Anyway, I took the risk, everything or nothing, that has been my life style also already many years. I had my wife and also my brother in law with his wife as a jury. Truly Asians all of them. Like I said, I was nervous and sweating...;) But, I can say already in this part of story...I survived!

What do you need :
- One whole chicken (I used the frozen one from supermarket, 1100 grams and how strange it may sound, I am in Singapore and chicken was imported from Brazil...quite a long 'fly' for poor chicken..:) )
- Ginger
- 1 onion
- Garlic
- Spring onion
- Soya sauce
- Sesame oil
- Chicken stock (either cubes or liquid one)
Peel the ginger, onion, garlic and spring onion. Wash the chicken. Insert all ingredients into the chicken and add some soya sauce and sesame oil. Boil the the water, which is spiced with chicken stock. When water is boiling, bring the heat down, that boiling will stop. Put the chicken with ingredients inside to the hot water, breast side down and some spring onions to the water. The main thing for this dish is : DO NOT BOIL THE CHICKEN. Keep it in the almost boiling water about an hour with pot cover on. Couple of times stir a water a bit, but do not harm the chicken. After about an hour, take a chicken carefully out from the pot and cut it to nice pieces. I must say, that in this part I needed my brother in law's wife help to cut it. I did not have any experience how to cut the chicken...:) Use the boiling liquid for cooking of rice and use it also as a side dish, 'soup'. serve the rice and chicken with fresh tomatoes and cucumber (unfortunately, I did not have it) and chicken rice chili sauce. This dish is perfect man..I promise!

And music...For me Chicken Rice is A Chinese dish, all though it is eaten in many other countries as well and it has many different varieties. My first touch to the Chinese culture was in 1995, just before I came to Singapore. I was in my first trip to United States and I visited Chinatown in San Francisco. There started my lifetime love for Chinese food. So, music...my friends if you'll go to SF remember flowers....;) Enjoy!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tiikerikakku (Tiger Cake)...in Singapura (Lion City)

Hello !

Today was a baking time. My children, especially daughter love baking. She always ask..."Daddy can we make the Tiger cake?" In the afternoon I made her wish true and we started baking. Maybe the look of the cake is not perfect, that's mainly due to our poor grill oven. But taste.....I guarantee, it is perfect!

Tiger cake in Singapura. To my , especially others than Singaporean friends, Singapura is Malay language and means Lion (singa) City (pura). English version came later, when the British colonial took over the island, they changed it to Singapore. History tells that hundreds of years ago Prince, Sang Nila Utama, from Palembang, Indonesia (1299-1347) had seen a lion in Singapore island when he arrived here and that's why he named the place to Singapura. Who knows has here been lions about 700 years ago...but today's fact is saying..no. Most likely it has been a tiger. Right or wrong, I can't prove it. But, coming back to tiger, those definitely have been in Singapore and still there are tigers in Malaysia peninsula. There is also a legend that Singapore's last tiger was shot under the Raffles Hotel billiard room pool table on August 13 1902. True or not...;) Tiger is anyway everywhere in Singapura...Tiger plaster, Tiger oil, Tiger cream, Tiger soya sauce...and can't forget..Tiger Beer!

Back to baking. There are several varieties of the recipes of Tiger cake (Tiikerikakku) my one as follows (my cooking mold is quite a big and that's why a large amounts) :
- 400 grams butter
- 5dl fine sugar
- 8 dl plain flour
- 6 eggs
- vanilla sugar
- baking powder
- 2dl cream
- cocoa powder
- bread crumbs
Melt the butter and let it cool. Mix the cool melted butter with sugar and whisk it to the foam. Add in the eggs, one by one, and all time mixing the paste. After it add in flour, cream and baking powder (1 tbl). Mixed it well. After it take 1/3 of the paste to the different bowl and put in some cocoa powder to make it ....'chocolate'. Add also some vanilla sugar to the rest of the paste. Oil the cooking mold with butter and protect it with bread crumbs. Then place the both pastes to the mold in layers. Finally mix it with a fork to make it look like marble finish......Into the oven and cook it 160-180'C about an hour. At least kids will love it, I promise!

And...what comes to the music...and overall about tiger...yes, to my mind is also coming 'a quite famous' golf player and his personal life problems. I know there are certain kind of taunts about it. But for me he is still the best golf player in the world...others have long way to catch him. What he has done or is doing in his personal life, is not my business. He has proved, that he is still a human. Everyone make mistakes in their life, despite of they have 1 dollar or millions of dollars in their bank account...;)
However, for 'Tiikerikakku' there is in my opinion only one song...enjoy!

Remember eat, my friends, that keeps you on the track...!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Karelia - Thinking of my roots...half "Karelian"

Hi again !

I was today thinking of my roots, especially on my mother’s side. I actually ‘realized’ that I am a half Karelian. Karelia is a part of, can I say South-East Finland. Firstly just want to say, I am not talking about politics or whatever, for me this is history. I am not bitter or angry to anyone of it. Finland’s Karelia used to be a bigger. But during the World War II Finland lost some part of it to Soviet Union (Russia). My mother was born in Kurkijoki, Karelia. It is a former part of Finland next to lake Ladoga and has since 1945 belonged to Soviet Union (Russia). She was 8 months old when Soviet Union attacked to Finland and the Winter War started, followed by Continuation War. Eventually the whole war took 5 years. My mother's father, my grandfather, was end 1939 called to join the army, Finland's army ordered the mobilization to protect the country. My grandmother (whom I've never seen, passed away in age of ~44 before I was born) with tens of thousands of others collect everything what they could and started the days trip to the Western Finland. About 95% of their property was left in Karelia…and they never return their home anymore. Finland government re-locate the families to the Western side, but they were ‘outsiders’, most of them shamed that they need to took government’s help. Although, they were Finnish and country was in a war! I have always had a feeling that Karelian’s are very persistent people. They will go through the gray stone, if needed. At least one of them, has really showed it. Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, a long time famous Finnish diplomat and UN director. Then 1994-2000 President of Finland and finally 2008 a Noble peace prize winner. He always reminds when he was a young boy, re-located from Karelia, and kids in the new area looked at him as a stranger... foreigner…;)...But, slowly the nation adhered together and fought against the Eastern enemy. Finally lost some land, but saved the independence.

So, food today. It is of course ‘Karjalanpaisti’ (Karelian meat stew). Firstly I say, that this is a'la Shores style. I did not even try to follow the original recipe. And, it is hard to say which one is the original, because of there are so many different varieties. However, this is my recipe :

- 400-500 grams beef and pork loin both (together about 1kg)

- 2 onions

- 4 middle size carrots

- Spring onion

- Black pepper (whole size)

- Concentrated chicken stock

- Water

Cut the beef and pork to the middle size cubes. Fry them them a little bit in food oil, make them brownish. Peel onion, carrots and spring onion. Place all items, meat and vegetables in layers to the pot and spice with concentrated chicken stock and whole size black pepper. Fill the pot with water, just on the top level of the all items. Place the pot (without cover) to oven, the first 30-45 minutes 250'C, then lower down the heat to 180-200'C. Keep it there an hour. Then again lower down the heat to 100-120'C and place the cover onto the pot. Keep it in the oven about an hour more. The secret actually is low heat and longer time.. I've seen recipes which tell that not more heat than 90-100'C...but cook it about 8 hours! So, my friends, please try. With this food you can really improvise...;-) Eat it with mashed potato, cranberry jam, bee root and pickles (I used sweet relish). Yam!

And music...what was it today. I must say sorry to my English speaking friends it is coming in Finnish language. But, somehow this song was in my mind while cooking : " Mina lahden Pohjois-Karjalaan" (I am going to Northern Karelia). Ok, this song actually does not tell the story about people like my mother and others. It is more like 1980's. But, this was a band which never made a live concert, at least in my understanding, they only made albums and some television shows. Unfortunately the singer passed away on 2003, while sleeping got a heart attack in age of 46. Eventhough, he never used alcohol in his life and had stopped smoking a few years before his death. But, he was diagnosed already in childhood for some kind of heart problem. This or that, however Gosta Sundqvist your songs are alive. Maybe they needed you so early in the upstairs band...RIP.

Enjoy, my friends.



Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sommaren är kort - Jansson's temptation (Jansson's casserole)

I have not written any stories in a week. Actually my planned interval of the stories is 5-10 per month. When I opened this blog there was first in the starting daily new stories. If I have time, mood and etc....I'll continue to do it. But, the main idea is, as I mentioned earlier. So, be patient, my friends..please....;)

Anyway, today I was cooking one of my favorite dishes...'Janssonin Kiusaus' (Jansson's temptation). It is in my opinion a quite tradiotional dish in Finland. Very simple, not difficult to cook at all You only need potatoes, canned anjovis, onion, cream and some spices.
- About 1kg potatoes
- 2 middle size onion
- 2 cans of canning anjovis (150-200 grams)
- 4dl cream
- Some black pepper and dill powder
- Butter or margarine
Peel the potatoes and cut them to the sticks. After cutting, rinse them and let the loose water go off. Chop the onions. Use butter or margarine to make the casserole 'oily'. Then start to place the potatoes, onions, and anjovis in layers to the casserole and also spice it sometimes with black pepper (do not use salt, anjovis is already very salty). Potatoes should be the last layer and then some dill powder (or if you have fresh one, even better) on the top. After it...the secret, mix the liquid from canning anjovis with the cream and pour it to the casserole. Place it into oven, first 30 minutes 220'C, after it 60 more minutes 150-170'C......Mnnn...Perfect...!

And music.....I have to thank my native place, Finland, Western neighbour Sweden about IKEA. Here in Singapore it is the only place where you can get the best canned anjovis, Abba, or at least I have not found better one here..:) Secondly, I have got a quite lot messages from Finland in past 2 days, that summer has started there. I've been living 15 years in a tropical climate where is always summer...for example now, when I am finishing this story, it is almost 2am and +28'c....believe or not, my friends, it sometimes boring.....same thing all the year round...:) But, back to the music. Let's put togetger this Swedish 'Nokia' (IKEA) and summer starting in Scandinavia....Missing those summer days there sometimes, my friends....

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Road to Hell...Char Kway Teow..a'la Shorestone..;)

Dear Friends,

Don't get shock about the story title. All is ok with me, but I was a bit nervous when I started to cook today this one of my favorite Asian dish, first time cooking it myself. Was worried how I'll survive to show my cooking habits to my Asian wife and her relatives, by cooking very tradiotional Malaysian/Singapore dish. I modified the recipe a little bit, as I do not like cockles and also not very much of squid (for me it is like a chewing gum withhout any taste)...and why I said..'The Road to Hell'..? As I was nervous and also this dish need to cook in a high heat and our kitchen was hot like a sauna..and I was sweating like in Hell !...:)
Anyway, what do you need for this my recipe:
- Light soya sauce
- Dark soya sauce
- Eggs
- Flat rice noodles
- Garlic
- Boneless chicken (I used chicken breast)
- Middle size prawns
- Spring onion
- Sprouts
- Salt (can also use concentrated chicken stock, what I actully did)
- White pepper
- Food oil
Peal the chicken breast in a small cubes and fry it to the 'almost well done' and same thing for the prawns. Then, heat the frying pan, (Wok pan is of course best, but I do not have it, so used the normal one) hot and food oil in there. Put some chop garlic in and let it fry for a while. Add the flat rice noodles, some light/dark soya sauce, salt (or chicken stock). Stirr it about 2-3 minutes. Add in already fried chicken and prawns, let it heat 1-2 minutes. Add in spourts and chopped spring onion. Mix everything and let it heat 2-3 minutes. Finally put the egg in (I put 1, but it depends on your taste and the dish size as well). mix all again and fry it that egg is a least in scrampeld.....Then take chop sticks and eat....good I guarantee!
Those who want to follow a real original recipe see this :

And music....I survived, people were very satisfied to my Asian dish. But, 'The Road to Hell' was still going through my ears. And also, I've been due to my work in many countries,where traffic is awful, like ; India, Malaysia , Dubai and sometimes even Singapore. When you've been working 12 hours busy day in heat of like Middle East desert climate...you really miss the shower...and on the way home about 8pm you get stuck in the traffic....in that moment, you really think...This is The Road to Hell...;)... But, enjoy..Chris Rea...the best is to use earphones with high volume...his voice is brilliant!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Simple, easy, healthy and good evening 'snack'

Good evening !

I mean that in Singapore it is Wednesday evening now, when I am writing this my story. Coming 10pm...family is slowly going to sleep..and I have my own peacefull time to listen some music with earphones, just a time to my own thoughts. I have always been a night person...somehow I start to 'live' when the night is falling over...;)

However, I was feeling a bit hungry for a while ago and was thinking to cook some simple 'snack'. When I opened the fridge, I noticed that we had there vegetables called 'Baby Dou Miao'. It is a vegetable mainly for Chinese dishes, but can be also done just in simple way, as we did it. I have to say, that I needed my 10 years old daughter's help to prepare this, as it is her favorite and she is 'professional' to make it! Anyway, it is very simple :
- Packet of Baby Dou Miao
- Garlic
- Light soya sauce
- Corn flour
- Sugar
- Salt
- Food oil
- Water
Make first a sauce of corn flour, sugar, salt and light soya sauce. Then fry the chop garlic in a food oil to brownish. Add in the Baby Dou Miao and stirr it in middle heat for a while. Add the earlier made sauce in and let it cook in low heat about 7-10 minutes. If it is getting too dry, add a bit water. That's it. It is good, I guarantee! You can eat it just like that (of cource the most healthiest option;)) or together with bread or .... whatever you want. Try!
And music.....I have been now 2 months back in Singapore, after my last project ended in Dubai...I am missing on the road again, used to it in during the last 20 years! So, I had today the feeling that show must go..... My all respect to Freddie Mercury, due to whatever reason he left us so early, regardless of his sexual habits, it is not my business....But, if he would have been living longer, he would have so many things to give for the music world! The Great singer! Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The World's most eaten dish...

Hey !

About 2 years ago I was driving a car in Singapore, PIE (Pan Island Expressway). Radio was on, 90.5FM, Gold FM, like they want to call it in Singapore, anyway and whatever, but I still like it and say it is a best radio channel in here...;) Ok, but it was a food what I supposed to talk....so on that day on the radio they asked, what is the most eaten dish in the world. There was a telephone number to call and tell your answer...I was thinking for a while....hamburger.....but then I suddendly realised, cannot be... Thinking about areas in the world where the rice is commonly eaten. High population countries all...China, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand etc... While driving a car, I never called them, but when they published the answer....I was feeling good...that time I had spent 13 years in Asia, and it seemed to be not a waste of time....because of I had the answer in my head also....what else it could be.....CHICKEN RICE....:)

There are a lot of different varieties of this dish. Mainly it is a Chinese one, but there are also Indian or Thailand style...lucky my best friend in Singapore has a Thai wife....so, sometimes visiting in there house....;) But anyway, it is a very good dish! This my one was mixed with barbeque pork...because of I like it in that way.....
And music...going back to my youngster days...somehow...Stone Cold....!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Fish'n chips..next to the sea...with blue eyes...

Our today dinner at East Coast Park Singapore. Fish'n chips next to sea, in place what actually is full of seafood restaurants..;) It may sound a bit corny, but I like the time there...relax, and just looking sea while kids were playing with kites. Sea is something for me, so many childhood memories in Finland in my father's native village...and also, sea is not a lake, where you can't 'escape'...sea gives you a freedom, you can take a boat and row to the other side of the world! Anyway, Fish'n chips is in my opinion a good dish. Oh, I am almost like a poet..;) Simple, easy eating and also kids like it a lot. It is a relax Sunday dinner for me!
And music....when I look at there a silent sea, no wind, I somehow was still in yesterday's American country songs' mood...sea was blue, sky was blue....so, that's why Shania Twain...my daughter's one of the favorites....By the way, I myself have blue eyes..and believe or not, but still after 40+ years they sometimes are crying, even without rain... Enjoy!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Good Morning America...How are You....;)

Hello !

This time I start with music. I was today chatting in a messenger and also in fb with my long time Finnish friend, ex-colleague in Singapore and actually my daughter's God-Father. Man who has been living in California for a quite many years. But at this time he was on working trip at Oklahoma City. My mind went back to my 3 earlier trips to USA, last one of them in 2008 Christmas in my mentioned friend's house in California. So, I got a feeling to cook something American...and what else could it be than chips, hamburger and corn, together with some side dish....and beer. Unfortunately, I did not have any American beer, so I needed to stay in a local one...but music...my friend, Good Morning Oklahoma City, I think so it is there already...
I also feel that these dishes do not need anymore recipes or introduction...better that music will talk.... I had a chance to see these guys on live in Singapore in 1995, the great old fellows. Two of them, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings are already passed away.... Rest in peace, but your songs are alive !